I am researching my Irish ancestors and find in one of the books written by Rev. Douglas Frazer Hurst (Presbyterian Minister) he states around the time of 1904 - 1915 he went to stay with relatives at Heddon Hall, Heddon on the Wall. He however does not state the name of these relatives and I wondered if you had the name of the people who rented it after 1903 and again in 1910.
- William Robert Wilson 1901 (died 1903)
- Max Holzpfel 1907 (see below)
- Frederick Wise 1920
- Archibald Ross died 1931
- Rollo Samuel Barrett 1937
I have attached the relevant pages from the book "The Bridge of Life" by the Rev. Douglas Frazer-Hurst, who was born of Irish extraction in Walker on Tyne, Northumberland, his father being the local doctor there. I think he was there [Heddon Hall] between 1904 and 1910.
The text about his visit to Heddon Hall on pages 101-103 is reproduced in full below.
In most lives there is an early romantic episode which is never forgotten. It is like a rose-leaf shut within the pages of our book of memory.
Such an episode occurred in connection with a holiday visit which I paid to some relatives who lived in a charming old house called ‘Heddon Hall’. It was situated on the North Tyne, in the midst of beautiful scenery and in the neighbourhood were some interesting remains of the old Roman Wall.
On the day when I was to arrive at Heddon, I had first to attend a meeting of Presbytery in Newcastle-on-Tyne. As this was prolonged beyond my expectation I missed the only train which would have taken me out at a convenient hour, and had to travel to Heddon-on-the-Wall (such was its full name) by a slow train that stopped with a jolt at every halt.
It was quite late when I arrived and when I passed beyond the twinkling lights of the little station the country roads were dark and silent.
Evidently it had been raining, for the ground was soft and the night air moist and heavy. I climbed the rather steep hill which led to the house and finally as the result of much searching amid the shadows of the roadside I discovered a little wooden gate, which seemed to belong to the HaIl.
I opened it and passed through. A narrow pathway was overhung with trees, still dripping from a recent shower and I had not gone far when a strange thing happened.
Whether I had brushed against some overhanging branch or whether my footsteps had made a noise on the path I do not know, but suddenly the trees began to shiver as if a gust of wind was stirring the branches and a profuse shower of raindrops was scattered upon me from the canopy of leaves overhead.
I stood still a moment, surprised and vaguely alarmed, for the noise increased and spread in all directions; an infinite rustling and murmuring sound that seemed to envelope me on every side. At the same time the air was filled with a delicious perfume cast forth from the flowering trees and shrubs.
Presently I realised that I had awakened a multitude of birds who had been asleep in the branches and their rapid flutterings and rustlings had spread amongst all the trees like a gust of wind.
It was as if the garden had awakened to greet me and in haste had flung out its perfumes and its murmured welcome as I drew near. Emerging from the deep shadow of the wooded path I was able to discern a clearer space beyond and at that very moment the moon sailed out from behind dark clouds and revealed the old Hall bathed in a dim silver light.
I stood still once again, admiring the beautiful picture thus suddenly presented.
With pulse quickened by she mysterious awakening of the birds, it needed but this touch of moon-lit beauty to complete the impression of something insubstantial and fairy-like.
The scene cast a spell upon my spirit and as I made my way to the house, it would not have surprised me to find a silver bugle suspended at the portal of the old Hall, wherewith to summon the attendants, or if at my approach the door had soundlessly opened!
The beautiful old house had been transformed to a fairy palace and I half regretted the necessity of gaining admittance by any such mundane method as ringing the door-bell.
When at last I constrained myself to do so, I received a cordial welcome from my hostess, but pleaded fatigue and the lateness of the hour as an excuse for retiring almost at once. The truth was that I felt reluctant to dispel by ordinary conversation the sense of magic that possessed me.
Next morning when I was having breakfast the door opened and the children of the family appeared. There were three girls and a very young boy. As the eldest girl came forward rather shyly and was introduced I thought “This must be the fairy princess”, for my young cousin was not only beautiful but in her every movement there was an indescribable lightness and grace.
There followed days of idyllic happiness. The big old garden was as delightful in the sunlight as it had been enchanted in the moon-light and what with drives, picnics and excursions to the Roman Wall, the days passed all too quickly.
In addition to the children there was a young and attractive French girl, pleasantly named Alice Rose, old enough to be their teacher and young enough to be their playmate.
Never had I spent such a wonderful holiday, but the chief cause of my happiness was that between my fair young cousin and myself there sprang up one of those romantic attachments that overleap the disparity of years.
It took the stronger hold upon me because my affections had no other object, and because I soon discovered that in her case ‘beauty dwelt with kindness’, for she was unselfish and considerate to a degree far beyond her years.
I was very fond of her two sisters and we all shared in the games and excursions of the holiday hut it was soon appreciated that there was an especial bond of affection between the eldest of the family and myself.
She was extremely romantic, and when we parted we exchanged tokens and promises in a way dear to her heart.
After I had returned to Birkenhead —very reluctantly, be it said— I received several delightful letters, and for several years 1 cherished the hope that the ripening bud of love might flower in our lives, but it was not to be.
Her parents, not unnaturally, were opposed to any disturbance of the programme of education and travel they had mapped out for her, and I had not reckoned with the profound changes which occur in a girl’s life as she reaches maturity.
In later years a difference of age is of small moment but in youth it is all-important. One cannot tether a climbing plant. Our enforced absence from one another and the opening up of a whole new world of interest and experience changed her feelings to those of affection. Life took each of us by the hand and led us down different paths.
In later years I regained contact with the whole family. A more delightful set of people I have never known. Many had been the changes and experiences through which we had all passed but the memory of our early days together was still a bond between us. It was a happiness both to myself and to the lady who had won my affection in her girlhood to renew our acquaintance, and to learn how each of us had fared in the years between the springtime and the autumn of our lives.
Jo-anne got back in touch with a likely identification of the family resident in Heddon Hall at the time of Frazer-Hurst's visit.
She told me that Max Engelbert A Holzapfel married Susan Grey Dick in 1895. In the 1911 census they had four children and were living in Kenton Lodge, Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne. The youngest child, Max Albert Holzapfel aged 4 was born in Heddon on the Wall. His three sisters, Susan Henrietta Holzapfel aged 14, Sophia Holzapfel aged 13 and Dorothy Julia Holzapfel aged 8 were born in Newcastle on Tyne and the 1901 Census shows them living in Jesmond.
Jo-anne has also managed to tease out the connection between Douglas Fraser-Hurst and the 'fair young cousin' in his account.
Susan Grey Dick was born in 1874 in Newcastle upon Tyne to John Dick, a wholesale Jeweller born Scotland and his wife Mary A, born Ireland. His stepson Hertford H Wright aged 15 was also born in Ireland circa 1866 and that's where they fit in with our Hertford Livingston's family in Belfast Ireland. I think that Mary Ann Dick is Mary Ann Livingston daughter of Hertford Livingston and Belinda Burrows and therefore cousins to the Frazer-Hurst's.
In 1881, he and his elder brother, Albert, established Holzapfels Compositions Co. Ltd. in Newcastle to produce marine anti-fouling coatings for iron-clad ships, using the name, International, as their paint brand. By 1889, the company had expanded production to include overseas countries, such as Russia, Denmark, Italy and Germany, and in 1901 to the United States. They moved first to larger premises in Gateshead, and in 1904 to a large factory in Felling-on-Tyne, where the current headquarters are still located. International Paint is now the leading brand name of the AkzoNobel Marine & Protective Coatings (M&PC) business unit. The history of the company is told here.
John Matthews of the Northumberland & Newcastle Society contacted me recently with some information about the crab-apple gates at Kenton Lodge. We had wondered if they could date from the building of the lodge in 1908 and, speculatively, even if they could have been made by the Roman Wall Forge established by Harry Amos in Heddon on the Wall around 1886.
I have found out that the gates are perhaps not as old as we first thought. They were made by M Aynsley Ornamental metalworkers who were based in Heber Street in Newcastle in the 1950’s. I have spoken to John Aynsley the current owner and MD of the company who I have known for many years. He remembers as a child, seeing them in the Heber Street works and he told me that they were forged by Jack Wright, one of their best blacksmiths. Unfortunately this is only anecdotal evidence as he has no written records.
It is pure conjecture but we think that the original gates may have been requisitioned during the Second World War as many gates and railings were at the time for the war effort. Replica gates were then commissioned in the 50’s. Aynsley’s were and are well known in the area for balustrading and ornamental metalwork – they worked on the City Hall and Baths and the Paramount Cinema [the Odeon Pilgrim Street] among other notable buildings.
As to the original gates, I suppose we will never know, but they may have been made in Heddon considering Max lived there for a short while!
Co-incidentally, John Aynsley has just completed decorative metalwork and stairs for the new Akzo Nobel paint factory in Ashington. He says if they do the restoration work on the gates they would probably get the protective coatings from International Paints which would be most appropriate!
We are in the process of trying to get all interested parties together to ensure that this little bit of Newcastle’s heritage is restored – thanks once again for flagging this up with us.